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Il estate lawyerThere are a variety of estate planning tools available to families that will allow them to protect their assets, use these assets to provide for themselves and their loved ones, and determine how matters should be handled after a person’s death. While most people are familiar with wills, they may not be fully aware of the role that trusts can play in an estate plan. Revocable living trusts can be especially beneficial, and understanding how these trusts may be used will ensure that a family will be fully prepared for the future.

What Is a Revocable Living Trust?

Trusts are legal instruments that will allow a person’s assets to be managed by a trustee, who will follow specific instructions for how assets should be distributed to a person’s beneficiaries. When a trust is created, ownership of assets will be transferred to the trust itself. This can ensure that certain assets will be protected, and it will also make sure these assets will be used correctly. If a trust is revocable, the person who created the trust can update its terms at any time.

With a revocable living trust, the trustmaker will usually be able to maintain control of their assets during their lifetime. The trustmaker may serve as the trustee, and a successor trustee will also be named who will assume control of the trust after the trustmaker’s death or if they become incapacitated. A trustmaker can make decisions about how the assets in a trust will be distributed to their family members or other beneficiaries after their death. They can also name themselves as a beneficiary and use the trust’s assets to provide for their own needs throughout their lifetime.

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IL business lawyerMany businesses rely on non-compete agreements to ensure that employees or former employees cannot use a company’s trade secrets or other protected information to engage in unfair competition. These agreements may be included in employment contracts, severance agreements, or other types of contracts, and they may prohibit a person from working for a direct competitor, starting a competing business, or engaging in other competitive activities within a certain geographical area and during a specific time period. However, a recent change to the laws in Illinois may affect a business’s ability to use non-compete agreements in the future. To ensure that they are following the applicable laws, a company can work with a business law attorney to create valid and enforceable non-compete agreements whenever appropriate.

Restrictions on New Non-Compete Agreements

The Illinois Freedom to Work Act was amended in 2021, and the changes went into effect on January 1, 2022. Certain restrictions will apply to non-compete agreements that are created or updated after this date. These restrictions include:

  • Employers can only enter into non-compete agreements with employees that earn more than $75,000 per year. This limit will be increased to $80,000 in 2027, and it will increase by an additional $5,000 in 2032 and 2037.
  • Non-compete agreements are prohibited altogether for people employed in the construction industry or other workers who are covered by a collective bargaining agreement. However, this prohibition does not apply to employees who primarily perform functions related to management, engineering, architectural design, or sales.
  • Employees must receive adequate consideration in return for entering into a non-compete agreement. Consideration may include wages or benefits, bonuses, severance pay, or other forms of compensation. If an employee works for an employer for at least two years after signing a non-compete agreement, this will be considered adequate consideration.
  • To be valid, a non-compete agreement must be necessary to protect an employer’s legitimate business interests. To determine whether the restrictions included in a non-compete agreement are appropriate, multiple factors may be considered, including an employee’s understanding of an employer’s relationships with customers and other employees, an employee’s knowledge of trade secrets or other confidential information, and whether restrictions on when and where an employee can work will be reasonable.
  • Employers are required to advise employees in writing that they should consult with a lawyer before signing a non-compete agreement. Employers must also allow an employee at least 14 days to consider a non-compete agreement before employment begins or before the agreement must be signed.

Contact Our Wheaton Non-Compete Agreement Lawyers

If you believe that non-compete agreements are necessary to protect your business’s interests, you will need to make sure your agreements are in compliance with Illinois law. At Stock, Carlson & Asso. LLC, we can advise you of your rights and the restrictions that may apply to your business, and we will work to draft and negotiate non-compete agreements and other types of contracts that will provide you with the protections you need. Contact our DuPage County business contract attorneys at 630-665-2500 to set up a confidential consultation and learn how we can assist with your legal needs.

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IL divorce lawyerThere are many reasons why a couple may want to create a prenuptial agreement before they get married. If either party owns significant assets, or if one party earns a higher income, they may want to take steps to protect themselves financially in the case of a divorce. A prenup may also be used to ensure that children from a previous relationship will have the financial resources they need. This type of agreement can help a couple avoid uncertainty in the future, and by making decisions about how matters will be handled if they choose to get a divorce, they may be able to minimize potential conflict. For those who are considering a prenup, it is important to understand what types of decisions an agreement can and cannot include.

Issues That Can Be Addressed in a Prenup

A prenuptial agreement will generally be limited to addressing issues related to a couple’s property and finances. The terms of a prenup may include:

  • Each party’s rights and obligations regarding the property they own together or separately. This may include details about a person’s rights to buy, sell, use, manage, control, or dispose of different types of assets, such as financial accounts, real estate property, vehicles, or other valuable items.
  • Whether different assets are considered marital or separate property. Separate property generally includes any assets owned by either party before getting married, and a spouse will be able to retain ownership of these assets if their marriage ends in divorce. Marital property must be divided between spouses in the case of divorce.
  • Decisions about how property will be divided in a divorce. A couple may agree on how property division will be handled, removing uncertainty about ownership of different types of assets and avoiding conflict about these issues.
  • Modification or elimination of spousal support. During a divorce, one spouse may ask for financial support from the other spouse. To avoid conflict about this issue, spouses may use a prenup to decide the circumstances when spousal maintenance will or will not be paid or to specify the amount and duration of spousal support payments.

A prenuptial agreement may also address any other issues that a couple believes are relevant, as long as these terms do not violate the law or go against public policy. However, a prenup generally cannot make decisions about the custody of a couple’s children, since these issues will be decided based on what is in the best interests of the children rather than the wishes of the parents. A prenup also cannot include any terms that would affect a child’s right to receive child support that will provide for their ongoing needs.

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IL real estate lawyerBuying or selling a home is a complex financial transaction. There are a number of issues that can affect a sale, and the parties will need to make sure their interests will be protected as they proceed with the home closing process. The contingencies that will be included in a residential real estate purchase contract can play a significant role in a home sale, and it is important for buyers and sellers to understand the types of terms that may be included and how these issues will affect them.

Common Contingencies in Purchase Agreements

After a buyer makes an offer to purchase a home, and this offer is accepted by the seller, a purchase agreement will be created that will outline the details of the transaction, including the closing date and the requirements that each party will need to meet. A contract will include multiple types of contingencies, which are provisions that state that certain requirements will need to be met in order for the transaction to proceed. These terms may allow either party to terminate the transaction based on certain factors, including situations that would place them in a difficult financial position.

A purchase agreement may include contingencies that address:

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IL probate lawyerFollowing a person’s death, the terms of their last will and testament will detail how their assets should be distributed to their family members or other beneficiaries. However, there are some situations where a person’s heirs or those who expect to inherit property may be unhappy about the decisions made in a will. During the probate process, certain parties may be able to contest a person’s will. For those who wish to challenge a will or executors who need to respond to this type of challenge, it is important to understand when and how a will may be contested.

Grounds for Contesting a Will

To contest a will, a person must be an “interested party,” meaning that they are a beneficiary named in the will or a person who would be eligible to inherit property if a person did not have a valid will in place. Will contests must be filed within six months after a will was filed in probate court.

While a person’s heirs or loved ones who believe that they should inherit certain assets may disagree with the decisions about how the person’s property will be distributed to their beneficiaries, this is generally not a valid reason to contest a will. A challenge will be based on claims that the will that was filed in probate court was invalid. Grounds for contesting the validity of a will include:

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